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Polk Streetscape Project

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Polk Street is a thriving neighborhood and commercial corridor that serves an important transportation function for San Francisco. It also has some of the highest pedestrian and bicycle collision rates in the City. On average, one person walking and one person biking are hit by a vehicle each month on Polk Street (122 in a five-year period).

For years, Polk Street has been the site of many traffic-related injuries and the corridor is currently on San Francisco’s Vision Zero High Injury Network. This network represents 12 percent of San Francisco’s surface streets and is where injuries, including severe and fatal injuries, are most concentrated.

San Francisco's Vision Zero policy calls for eliminating traffic-related fatalities by 2024.

The corridor is not only the designated street for the #No. 19 Muni bus line; it also is a preferred north-south bicycle route due to its flatter terrain. Polk Street also is a popular place for people to walk.

The Polk Streetscape Project was designed to enable safe access for all road users of all ages and abilities. Through community input and technical evaluation, the proposed design includes corridor-wide safety improvements and additional streetscape amenities at key locations.

Partnering on the project are San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Planning Department, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The Polk Streetscape Project aims to increase safety for people walking and biking on Polk Street, as well as improve the efficiency of transit on the corridor. This project will build on Polk Street's vibrant commercial character by improving safety and transportation choices.

Upcoming improvements on Polk Street between Beach and McAllister streets and nearby alleyways will include repaving, street base repair, sidewalk corner bulb-outs, to shorten the crossing distance, ADA-compliant curb ramp upgrades, Muni bus stop optimization; such as bus stop consolidation or relocation, bus bulb-outs for easier boarding, and left and right turn lanes to improve traffic flow, raised cycle tracks, green bike lanes, sewer replacements, water line replacement, traffic signal upgrades, high visibility crosswalks, better visibility at crosswalks, commercial-loading improvements, landscaping, tree planting, street lighting and alley enhancements to Fern Alley, to enhance the pedestrian and biscyclist experience with the creation of a well-lit plaza atmosphere, widening of the existing sidewalk, decorative asphalt, raised crosswalks, traffic calming measures and planting of palm trees.

To help achieve these improvements, the design necessitates the removal of 106 parking spaces along the Polk Street corridor and 28 spaces on side streets.

Updates on changes of design elements on the Polk Streetscape Project:

SFMTA has recently announced that plans for Polk Street bike lane will be modified from raised to road level.
The previous plan for the Polk Streetscape Project included a raised bike lane, with a two-inch mountable curb, on the northbound side of Polk from McAllister to Pine streets. But in our experiment with different curb designs last year on Market Street, we found that raised bike lanes on commercial streets like Polk should have a parking-protected configuration, with a lane of car parking and loading zones between the bike lane and the roadway, to prevent drivers from parking in the bikeway.
 
Making room for that parking lane on Polk would require major changes to the plan already under construction. To make the bike lane safer without a major delay, the northbound bike lane will no longer be raised but will be built at road level with plastic safe-hit posts and a painted buffer zone to separate it from the traffic lanes.
 
For more information, visit www.sfmta.com.
 
Crosswalk design at Polk and Green streets will be modified to reflect SFMTA crosswalk guidelines and to meet budget constraints.
Crosswalks along Polk Street are marked using continental striping. The SFMTA adopted continental crosswalk striping as the citywide standard in May 2014. The proposed decorative crosswalk shown at Polk and Green by the City in March 2014 during the community outreach phase of the project will not be used. The high visibility continental crosswalk markings help advance our goal to make Polk Street safer for everyone. We apologize for not notifying the community sooner. 
 
Please be assured that other key safety improvements will be implemented along Polk Street. The City is building on Polk Street's vibrant commercial character by investing in new lighting, landscaping, repaving, installation of a protected bike lane, sidewalk bulb-outs, traffic signal upgrades, pedestrian countdown signals and ADA curb ramp upgrades. 
 

Location

Polk Street from McAllister Street to Beach Street 
Redwood Street, Polk Street to Van Ness Avenue
Elm Street, Polk Street to Van Ness Avenue
Willow Street, Polk Street to Larkin Street
Olive Street, Polk Street to Van Ness Avenue
Alice B. Toklas Place, Polk Street to Van Ness Avenue
Hemlock Street, Polk Street to Van Ness Avenue
Fern Street, Polk Street to Larkin Street Alleyway Improvement
Austin Street, Polk Street to Van Ness Avenue
Frank Norris Street, Polk Street to Larkin Street
Chestnut Street, Polk Street to Van Ness Avenue
North Point Street, Van Ness Avenue to Larkin Street

Visit bit.ly/PolkStreetscapeMap for additional details about the project. 


Project and Construction Schedule

Completed Phases:
Community outreach and planning phase: August 2012 - March 2014
Environmental review: September 2014 - January 2015
Engineering public hearing: January 30, 2015
SFMTA Board of Director approvals: March 3, 2015
Detailed Design: Spring 2015 - Winter 2015/2016

Upcoming Phases: 
Construction: October 2016 - 2018

Construction Sequence 

The Polk Streetscape Project is anticipated to be completed in six segments. The projected construction schedule is as follows*: 

Segment 5: October 2016 - May 2017
Segment 4: November 2016 - October 2017
Segment 3: April 2017 - November 2017
Segment 6: June 2017 - August 2017
Segment 2: July 2017 - March 2018
Segment 1: January 2018 - April 2018
*Please note that the construction schedule is subject to change due to rain, equipment breakdown, and/or unforeseen field conditions. Please see posted "No Parking" barricade signs for exact parking restrictions. Parking restrictions may vary per block. 

Polk Street Traffic Signal Upgrade Project 

The Polk Street Traffic Signal Upgrade Project began construction in January 2017 and will continue through June 2017. Work will occur at nine intersections from Union to Post streets. 
03.24.17: Crews continue to perform foundation work on Polk at Jackson, Washington, Clay, Sacramento and California streets. Crews will begin pole standing work at all locations through April 13, 2017. 

03.10.17: Crews continue to work on Polk at Broadway, Pacific, Jackson and Washington streets, and have begun pouring pole and controller foundations. Crews will begin working at Clay, Scramento and California streets to begin digging pole foundations. Pole and controller foundations are expected to be poured in late March. 

02.10.2017: Work has temporarily been delayed due to inclement weather. Crews are still working on foundation and conduit work at Union, Broadway and Pacific streets. We hope to resume work as quickly as possible once the weather clears. 

01.05.2017Construction Notice - Foundation and conduit work will begin starting at the intersections of Polk Street and Union, Broadway and Pacific streets. Work is anticipated to take approximately three weeks at each intersection. Once work is complete, crews will move south towards Post Street. 

The projected construction schedule and anticipated start dates*: 

Union: January  2017
Broadway: January 2017
Pacific: January 2017
Jackson:  February 2017
Washington:  February 2017
Clay: February 2017
Sacramento: March 2017
California: March 2017
Post: March 2017
*Please note that the construction schedule is subject to change due to rain, equipment breakdown, and/or unforeseen field conditions. Please see posted "No Parking" barricade signs for exact parking restrictions. Parking restrictions may vary per block. 

Polk Streetscape Project Construction Activity Update:

03.24.17: Crews have performed sewer intallation work on Polk between Greenwhich and Lombard streets and have begun sewer installation work on Polk Street from Filbert of Union streets in segment 4. Crews will excavate at Larkin and North Point streets for chlorination of the water main the week of March 27, 2017. Emergency sewer replacement work on Polk Street from Sutter to Post streets will begin the week of April 3, 2017. Work is anticipated to take approximately three weeks. The Rock and Roll Marathon will take place Sunday March 26, 2017 and a portion of the marathon will run down Polk Street from Bay to Ellist streets. 

03.10.17: Crews have completed emergency sewer replacement work on Polk Street from Broadway to Pacific streets in segment 3 and emergency sewer patch work at Polk and Hemlock streets. Crews will begin sewer main replacement work on Polk between Sutter and Post streets in segment 2 begining the week of March 27, 2017. Replacement work is anticipated to take approximately 3-4 weeks. Crews continue to work on water main installation work in segment 5 on North Point Street and sewer main installation work in segment 4 on Polk Street between Lombard and Bay streets. 

02.22.17: Emergency Repair UpdateCrews will begin emergency pothole repair work on Polk Street at Hemlock  and on Polk between Broadway and Pacific (segments 2 and 3). While we were not anticipating starting work in these segments until later this summer, these emergency repairs were deemed necessary to be completed as soon as possible. To address the sewer failure issues, crews will perform repairs at Post and Hemlock and will replace the sewer main on Polk between Broadway and Pacific. 

Work on North Point Street, in segment 5, will continue during these emergency repairs in segments 3 and 2. Emergency repair activity is anticipated to take approximately 2 weeks to complete. Once the sewer work is complete, crews will resume work in segments 5 and 4 and will return to segments 3 and 2 at the originally planned schedule to complete remaining work on those blocks. Construction activity on the Polk Street Traffic Signal Upgrade Project, currently on Polk Street at Union, Broadway and Pacific, will continue as normal during these emergency repairs. 
 
02.10.17: Crews are continuing to work on North Point Street, performing sewer and water work and will prepare to complete culvert replacement and streetbase installation on North Point Street from Van Ness Avenue to Larkin streets by the end of next week, weather permitting. Crews will then begin water installation work on Polk Street from North Point to Bay streets. 
 

Construction Update Archive

(08/2016-01/2017)

Construction Cost / Funding

Approximately $18,000,000
This project was made possible in part by Proposition K Sales Tax dollars provided by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.

This project is also partially funded by: 
2011 Road Paving and Street Safety Bond (Prop B)
2014 Transportation and Road Improvement Bond (Prop A)
Proposition K - Your Sales Tax Dollars at Work
PUC Wastewater Bond Fund
PUC Water Enterprise Bond Fund
SFMTA Revenue Bond
Lower Polk Neighbors
Lower Polk Community Benefit District

Additional Information

More information on the Polk Streetscape Project can be found on the following partner websites:
Municipal Transportation Agency
SF Planning

Related Projects: 
Van Ness Improvement Project
19-Polk Bus Stop Changes

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Streets & Streetscapes
STATUS In Progress
Location
Polk Street, from McAllister St. to Beach St.
Start Date August 2016
Completion Date December 2018
Budget
$18,000,000
Project Manager
Cristina Olea
Project Team
Contact
Coma Te
Phone
(415) 558-5283